TRIGGER WARNING: sexual content.
In this YouTube clip, the roles of male and female get swapped so that the guy gamer experiences what a girl gamer often encounters in the gaming world, including getting randomly called a “slut” or “whore”, being asked “what underwear are you wearing”, and receiving other explicit oral abusing. When the male character points out that he has a right to play the game, the girls say they have the right to keep their harassment. Eventually, the guy is upset and says he “will never play a game again”.
Being a female gamer myself, I find this clip really depicts well how uncomfortable a girl often feels in online gaming. What’s more, the clip really reflects the situation where a girl is playing a video game that is conventionally believed to be a “guy’s game” – more often than not, she is the only girl in a waiting lobby and therefore having a hard time defending herself when harassment occurs. In #Gamergate: Here’s why everybody in the video game world is fighting, Van Der Werff writes about the trending hashtag #Gamergate and the fact that female gamers, designers, and journalists are subjected to harassment in the gaming community. This reminds me of another kind of insult that girl gamers often receive online – “go make dinner”. The implication is that the girl doesn’t belong here; she is supposed to be doing housework and cooking for a family. In our lecture, Bonnie Ruberg and Professor Kosnik discussed how Hollywood seems to embrace diversity and tolerate niche market but in the gaming world, this does not seem to be the case. On some gaming forums, I saw people talking about the hostility towards women in online gaming – the assault and sexist jokes get channeled towards girl gamers especially when she is performing better than the males are. Some guys admit they insult girls because “people don’t know how to treat new things”. (bastian, http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php/topic/51112-women-in-gaming;-a-make-me-a-sandwich-tale/)
1. Did you have similar experiences online, and if so, what was your reaction?
2. What steps could be taken to improve the gaming community? Should change come from the grassroots organization by female gamers and their allies, or in a top-down approach where high-profile community members set good examples?
Thoughts and comments welcome below!